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Old 08-12-2009, 07:13 AM   #26
Mark Mueller
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post

LOL Y'all take yourselves very seriously.
...
Loosen the obi once in awhile; you'll live longer. lol

it also eases up on the gas.....I'm just sayin...
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:11 AM   #27
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Re: 5th Kyu Shihan

Quote:
Ryan Szesny wrote: View Post
Your arguement is flawed. He does not believe in the Sempai/kohai relationship, so by his standards I have no reason to show any reverance because such a relationship is impossible outside of Japan. You even don't believe in it by your own admission. Your statement is self contradictory because you want me to adhere to a relationship that you JUST said did not exist and can not because we are geographically seperate from Japan.

On a personal note, I love your post, but I argue with everyone regardless of who they are. It drives my Sempai crazy
Hi Ryan,
It doesn't matter what I or Ron believe or not. Important thing is what YOU believe.
So, will you respect Ron as your aikiweb sempai and agree with his every word?

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-12-2009, 02:07 PM   #28
Ryan Seznee
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Re: 5th Kyu Shihan

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Hi Ryan,
It doesn't matter what I or Ron believe or not. Important thing is what YOU believe.
So, will you respect Ron as your aikiweb sempai and agree with his every word?
Well played, I like it. You have such well thought out posts But I don't think this forum holds any validaty as a teaching medium, so he is not a senior student so much as a random person I am conversing with, not completely unlike yourself. We are meeting as equals that are conversing (or at least that was my asumption coming into the post) not two students studing under the same forum, if it were so I want to meet the internet shihan

I also said that I annoy my sempai by arguing with them, my questions know no rank or social distinction. I am this annoying in real life I would question O'Sensei himself if he said or did something I considered to be self contradictory or wrong because I don't think that there is such a thing as perfection. I don't think he did eather, he trained till the day he died if I am not mistaken. I may and often am wrong about my assumptions that lead me to question, but it is how I learn best. I thank them for enduging me
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Old 08-12-2009, 02:12 PM   #29
Steven
 
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Re: 5th Kyu Shihan

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Hi Ryan,
It doesn't matter what I or Ron believe or not. Important thing is what YOU believe.
So, will you respect Ron as your aikiweb sempai and agree with his every word?
Well Szczepan, he's technically your aikiweb senpai too, so if he tells you to delete your account and stop posting on aikiweb, as a good senpai, you will do just that eh?

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Old 08-12-2009, 03:54 PM   #30
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Re: 5th Kyu Shihan

Quote:
Steven Miranda wrote: View Post
Well Szczepan, he's technically your aikiweb senpai too, so if he tells you to delete your account and stop posting on aikiweb, as a good senpai, you will do just that eh?

I don't think so given his former comment;
Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Unfortunately for you Ryan, Ron is right. Sempai/kohai relationship is impossible outside of Japan.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:31 PM   #31
Ryan Seznee
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Re: 5th Kyu Shihan

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Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
I don't think so given his former comment;

His arguement is valid because Mr. Szepan is holding me to a standard he doesn't agree with. It would be like someone who disagrees with capital punishment being critical for another country's hesitation to exicute a criminal. It is hypocritical, but Mr. Szepan's arguement is based on finding hypocracy in my statement. I don't think there is any, but it is the same arguement that they are both using, and I think they are both valid.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:47 PM   #32
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Re: 5th Kyu Shihan

Quote:
Ryan Szesny wrote: View Post
Well played, I like it. You have such well thought out posts But I don't think this forum holds any validaty as a teaching medium, so he is not a senior student so much as a random person I am conversing with, not completely unlike yourself. We are meeting as equals that are conversing (or at least that was my asumption coming into the post) not two students studing under the same forum, if it were so I want to meet the internet shihan
As you can see from your own behavior here, kohai/sempai relationship outside of Japan is impossible

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:48 PM   #33
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Re: 5th Kyu Shihan

Quote:
Steven Miranda wrote: View Post
Well Szczepan, he's technically your aikiweb senpai too, so if he tells you to delete your account and stop posting on aikiweb, as a good senpai, you will do just that eh?

Ron will never do such horrible thing!!!!

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:04 PM   #34
Walter Martindale
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

To those who argue against the possibility of a sempai/kohai relationship outside of the four islands...
We had a dojo in Regina, SK, where those who had been in Aikido longer than others were assigned/adopted a one-on-one relationship with a newer person. When the newer one was graded (we used coloured belts) the senior handed down his/her old belt of that colour to the kohai. We did a lot of our training together.
We didn't go the whole nine yards and have the kohai do all the cleaning up - that was everyone's job...
Purists may "poo-poo" that as something artificial but it worked for us. (Sensei was Japanese born, I'd spent some time in Japan many years earlier.)
W
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:10 PM   #35
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Hi Walter,

It's not that I'm a purist, and I certainly wouldn't poopoo it. I think it sounds like it worked well in that situation. In general, though, I usually don't see a good understanding of what that relationship is supposed to be (culturally), I see issues with some claiming authority they don't have, and sometimes even people trying to be more Japanese than the Japanese.

There is no guarantee that these things will happen, and I'm convinced that there are some notable exceptions. And also places where the terms are used and simply not made a big deal of.

In general though, especially given how the relationship is sometimes badly abused in Japan, I'm not sure at all of the benefits of translating that to western cultures.

As I've said a few times now though, its not a big deal...I was just mentioning it in passing. If I thought all this would have come from it, I'd a shut my mouth and swallowed....

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:27 PM   #36
Ryan Seznee
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Re: 5th Kyu Shihan

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
As you can see from your own behavior here, kohai/sempai relationship outside of Japan is impossible
I am not using it in the context of over the internet, though. I am using it in the context of a senior student inside my dojo who I train with every day who mentors me, whom I have respect for. I don't see your logic, you can't prove something does not extist in all cases based on one case as it might be isolated. This is the same reason I did not accept Ron or your argument that the relationship doesn't exist because you two had never seen it outside of Japan. The real issue I take with Ron's (and your's now) post is that he is making a judgement on a relationship's existance that he knows nothing about in people he knows nothing about. How can you say anything definate about someone you know nothing about and have never met?

It is as logically flawed as saying that an AA's sponsor's relationship can't exist outside of AA.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:34 PM   #37
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hi Walter,

It's not that I'm a purist, and I certainly wouldn't poopoo it. I think it sounds like it worked well in that situation. In general, though, I usually don't see a good understanding of what that relationship is supposed to be (culturally), I see issues with some claiming authority they don't have, and sometimes even people trying to be more Japanese than the Japanese.

There is no guarantee that these things will happen, and I'm convinced that there are some notable exceptions. And also places where the terms are used and simply not made a big deal of.

In general though, especially given how the relationship is sometimes badly abused in Japan, I'm not sure at all of the benefits of translating that to western cultures.

As I've said a few times now though, its not a big deal...I was just mentioning it in passing. If I thought all this would have come from it, I'd a shut my mouth and swallowed....

Best,
Ron
Ron, I am not saying that we sit and try to learn Japanese while sipping green tea, munching on sushi, and watch sumo wressling at my dojo. I have met people like that, and they are annoying

I am saying I am using a term to describe a relationship that fits the deffinition of the term. I repeat (because I have still not gotten an answer from you), do you use ireminage instead of "entering throw" and such terms or is that "more Japanese than the Japanese"? If so, what is the differance is Sempai? Do you also have a problem with Sensei?
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:47 PM   #38
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Hi Ryan, I'll repeat myself from my earlier response...

Quote:
I stated the reason I'd be cautious...because the term carries more significance that just "senior". I happen to train under a Japanese instructor, and from 3rd kyu on our tests are in Japanese. But the terms sempai and kohai are not used. The context for those terms is pretty strongly linked to certain Japanese cultural ideas. They don't always merge well in western social groups (in my opinion). Try a search on some of the abuse issues in Japanese University clubs. I think you'll see what I mean. Especially when linked to deaths in aikido keiko there.
Please note what you said...
Quote:
This is the same reason I did not accept Ron or your argument that the relationship doesn't exist because you two had never seen it outside of Japan. The real issue I take with Ron's (and your's now) post is that he is making a judgement on a relationship's existance that he knows nothing about in people he knows nothing about.
I never said that in any of my posts. I said that I am cautious about using that term because of the baggage that comes with it outside [and inside] of the Japanese context.

I never made any judgements about whether or not it *could* exist in the specific relationship in question. I simply advised the poster of my own sense of caution.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:38 PM   #39
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Oh, just a note...I tend to be reasonably carefull in what I say (at least when I'm being serious [like that happens often ]), so it probably would pay many dividends to NOT misquote me...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:09 PM   #40
Walter Martindale
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hi Walter,

It's not that I'm a purist, and I certainly wouldn't poopoo it. I think it sounds like it worked well in that situation. In general, though, I usually don't see a good understanding of what that relationship is supposed to be (culturally), I see issues with some claiming authority they don't have, and sometimes even people trying to be more Japanese than the Japanese.

There is no guarantee that these things will happen, and I'm convinced that there are some notable exceptions. And also places where the terms are used and simply not made a big deal of.

In general though, especially given how the relationship is sometimes badly abused in Japan, I'm not sure at all of the benefits of translating that to western cultures.

As I've said a few times now though, its not a big deal...I was just mentioning it in passing. If I thought all this would have come from it, I'd a shut my mouth and swallowed....

Best,
Ron
Yeah, case-by-case basis. I tend to rail against gaijin who try to be more japanese than the Japanese.

Hey, it's an interesting topic.
W
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:27 AM   #41
Ryan Seznee
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Re: 5th Kyu Shihan

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Just a note, I believe the word you are referring to is sempai...and personally, I tend to avoid it outside of a strictly Japanese context. Western society doesn't really allow for the development of the sempai / kohai relationship. It tends to become easy to abuse even in the Japanese context, let alone outside of it.

Best,
Ron
Ron, you said it on your very first post. I am not misquoting... "Western society doesn't really allow for the development of the sempai/kohai relationship". I did add "outside of Japan", but a western society is outside of Japan, so you are splitting hairs in my opinion, but if you want it, I will give it to you. I still want to know what the acceptable level of Japanese is for you. You are correcting people on the use of Senior Student over Sempai in a dojo... oh I'm sorry... a "place of the Way" (unsolicited as it originally started in another topic for those of you who weren't here from the beginning) so as not to offend your delicate sensibilities. How is using a term that applies "being more Japanese than the Japanese"?
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:32 AM   #42
Ryan Seznee
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Ron, you have yet to answer my question. Do you use (personally or in your dojo... "place of the Way" sorry) ireminage or "entering throw"? Do you call them Jo or staff?
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:57 AM   #43
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Re: 5th Kyu Shihan

Quote:
Ryan Szesny wrote: View Post
You are correcting people on the use of Senior Student over Sempai in a dojo...
What Ron really said:
Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Just a note, I believe the word you are referring to is sempai...and personally, I tend to avoid it outside of a strictly Japanese context.
...followed immediately by....
Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
No arguement from me Mary. I was just pointing out the mis-spelling of the word, and some of the complexities of using it outside of its original culture.
If Ron wants to correct people, he's the worst correcter in the world. All he's done is state his own personal preference of not using "sempai/kohai" in the dojo, and explained why. I'm not exactly sure why you are looking for an argument here.

Ron believes that in Japan "sempai/kohai" carry a lot of cultural baggage, and rather than deal with that baggage he's decided not to use those terms.

You believe that in Japan "sempai/kohai" carry a lot of cultural baggage, and rather than deal with it you choose to ignore it as not relevant to your cultural context.

Ron's happy with what he does, and perfectly happy to let you do as you want to do. Why not extend the same courtesy to him? Are you not perhaps transferring adversarial vibes from Szczepan to Ron?

And FWIW, here's my take on Japanese in the dojo.

Last edited by Josh Reyer : 08-15-2009 at 11:02 AM.

Josh Reyer

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Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:55 AM   #44
Ryan Seznee
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Re: 5th Kyu Shihan

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
What Ron really said:

...followed immediately by....

If Ron wants to correct people, he's the worst correcter in the world. All he's done is state his own personal preference of not using "sempai/kohai" in the dojo, and explained why. I'm not exactly sure why you are looking for an argument here.

Ron believes that in Japan "sempai/kohai" carry a lot of cultural baggage, and rather than deal with that baggage he's decided not to use those terms.

You believe that in Japan "sempai/kohai" carry a lot of cultural baggage, and rather than deal with it you choose to ignore it as not relevant to your cultural context.

Ron's happy with what he does, and perfectly happy to let you do as you want to do. Why not extend the same courtesy to him? Are you not perhaps transferring adversarial vibes from Szczepan to Ron?

And FWIW, here's my take on Japanese in the dojo.
I am not working off adversarial vibes at all. I just enjoy arguing. Frankly, I liked Szczepan's posts more than Ron's because they were more assertive and clear. I believe I mentioned this before.

Secondly, Ron is arguing. If he is just stating his opinion, there would be no need for a follow up. He also started (in the quote you posted) this whole thread as a correction to Red. The way his paragraph is set up, the opening sentence leads to the development to the rest of the paragraph. Therefore, his point is (as it is written in post #1) you misspelled Sempai... I wouldn't use that word in that context. Which is a very passive aggressive way of correcting someone. In a future post he chastises me for not looking into the social significance of the word, which is DEFINITELY starting an argument in my book.

Thirdly, I did not acknowledge the argument of Sempai having a cultural subtext because no one will answer my question and follow the concept to it's logical absurdity. The entire art form is Japanese, a lot of things we do have religious and social subtext (bowing before and after class, having a picture of O'Sensei...), but it is ignored for the sake of tradition, transmission of the art, or out of conviniance. Why take out one part and not all?
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:25 AM   #45
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Good grief. Hey, you win the arguement.

The answer to your oft repeated question (what Japanese is used in our dojo) is above in two posts now. Feel free to read it or not. It's not really a big deal to me.

Best,
Ron (oh, now *I'm* passive agressive?)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:29 AM   #46
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

By the way Josh, I remember that post. Nice one...

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-17-2009, 02:27 PM   #47
rdavid445
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

If you look at the senpai/kouhai relationship through a certain lens (someone who doesn't speak fluent japanese, hasn't lived in Japan), then it's easy to have the view point of "It just means senior and junior student". And that's true, to a certain extent. If you get out your japanese - english dictionary, then that's all the information you're going to get. However, most people who have spent a significant amount of time in Japan will tell you that, for better or worse, the senpai/kouhai thing is ABSOLUTELY UNAVOIDABLE IN ANYTHING YOU DO (if you're japanese). Kendo Club. Work. Etc. And it isn't just "Oh, he's the senior student who is fostering my education and guiding me". It's been stated on here before that there have been many and frequent abuses of the relationship, which all stem from the fact that, in that relationship, you pretty much have to kowtow to your seniors. I hate to say it, but arguing with your senpai so much that you annoy them is not something that would be acceptable.

Jouge Kankei (上下関係 the japanese term for the senpai/kouhai relationship) doesn't just exist in martial arts, as I've said. In fact, I recently watched one of my favorite comedy shows (Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!!), where they used hidden cameras to film famous "senpai" comedians getting extremely angry at their "kouhai" for the tiniest reasons. You would think that, in America, even if it were your boss that was screaming on you, you would at one point stand up and say, "I don't deserve to be treated this way, I'm leaving" (that's the nice version, too). But on this tv show, because of the senpai/kouhai thing, you get to watch these kouhai squirm, beg for forgiveness, and a few even start crying openly. After it's revealed that they're on a tv show, everyone laughs and there's the "awww, you got us!" kind of feeling, but there is also that feeling of the kouhai being angry, and feeling abused at the whole situation. You have no idea what some people are put through because of the senpai/kouhai relationship. But here's the good news: we aren't Japanese! We don't even have to risk it! We can just learn together, get better, and avoid possible abuse and social discomfort!

As a foreigner in Japan, you pretty much get a pass on cultural stuff. They don't really care if you hold strictly to a lot of their social mores, as long as you're polite, and not openly rebellious. As such, I can understand Ron not wanting to participate in the senpai/kouhai thing because, as Americans, there's already a precedent set in sports and such for people learning from one another, being taught by superiors and other students alike, without having to kowtow or, in some situations, be abused. It's not an integral part of our societal interaction, as it is in Japan, so why force it? Sure, you can use the terminology, but if you are claiming to also be practicing the relationship as it is practiced in Japan while not doing some of the things I've mentioned above, it's a hollow pursuit.

As to the idea that, because Ron doesn't want to use terms such as Senpai/kouhai because he doesn't care for the (frankly) intrinsic social implications of those words, he's picking and choosing how "Japanese" he wants his art to be, I'm sorry, but that doesn't make sense. It may be Ryan's opinion (or maybe not) that the relationship is present at the heart of aikido in some form or fashion, but if we shouldn't pick and choose, then why isn't every single person practicing aikido fluent in Japanese? As supposedly intrinsic as the senpai/kouhai thing is to aikido, the Japanese language is certainly more so. Not just for techniques, either. If we are trying to transmit aikido exactly as it was and is taught in Japan, then we should all be speaking fluent Japanese. Not to do so would seem to be choosing to ignore the entire language based communication system developed for aikido, in Japan, by the founder and those who came before and after him.

Or is it ok to allow aikido to be adapted and taught in such a way that people here in the US can assimilate it into their lives without having to take on Japanese social attributes just because they exist? Of all my time in Japan, all the great things and not so great things I learned, one thing struck me hard:

I'm not Japanese. That's a good thing. I like being American. I like how we do things. I like Japanese culture, and I have Japanese friends, but I would feel utterly trapped in their culture if I felt I had to take on all of their social attributes to be "doing it right".

Last edited by rdavid445 : 08-17-2009 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:59 PM   #48
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Hi Robert,

Nice to see you posting on AikiWeb. Welcome... and it was a pleasure to meet you recently and see your practice and recognize some memories from the past. I look forward to more in the future.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 08-17-2009, 04:06 PM   #49
Walter Martindale
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Quote:
Robert David wrote: View Post

(major snippage of a really good post)

Of all my time in Japan, all the great things and not so great things I learned, one thing struck me hard:

I'm not Japanese. That's a good thing. I like being American. I like how we do things. I like Japanese culture, and I have Japanese friends, but I would feel utterly trapped in their culture if I felt I had to take on all of their social attributes to be "doing it right".
That whole "giri" (obligation - sort of; duty - sort of) thing, and culturally knowing what you can/can't do, should/shouldn't do. Ranges from which words to use in a conversation depending on the "status" of the person with whom you're speaking, through making sure you don't leave your hashi in the bowl and which sauce goes with which food, through everything else in general behaviour.

W
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:29 PM   #50
rdavid445
Dojo: Shobu Aiki Dojo - OKC, OK
Location: Norman, OK
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 19
United_States
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Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
Hi Robert,

Nice to see you posting on AikiWeb. Welcome... and it was a pleasure to meet you recently and see your practice and recognize some memories from the past. I look forward to more in the future.

Best regards,
Hi Clark Sensei,

I was really pleased to meet you as well. I feel very fortunate to have started practicing with such a wonderful group of people, and I look forward to squeezing every drop out of our interactions and training together in the future. I also appreciated the (somewhat abbreviated) rundown of the history of Tomiki aikido in Oklahoma. I'd love to talk further about it with you in the future.
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